Sunday, July 26, 2015

(Jul 26) Prepping For The Cistern

We ARE in the dog days of summer here in North Texas. It's now been over a month since we've seen rain and the 100°+ days continue to roll in. Nothing in the forecast for the next week but "HOT and dry".  We got a little done this weekend. I trimmed the metal and laid the tar paper on the roof of the storage building. This should hold for a bit as we aren't expecting any rain any time soon. :(

We also started setting the pad for the cistern. A couple of weeks ago, we put some tall stakes in the ground to represent where the cistern would sit. We wanted to make sure it wasn't going to block the views from the windows in the house too much. Hard to make a 1550 gallon black jug completely vanish from sight! I just didn't want it to be the first thing you saw when you drove up to the place. I also didn't want it to be front and center in front of our windows. We worked hard to put all of those windows in and want to enjoy every one of them. :) Our ideal location would have been at the NE corner, behind the bathroom, but because of the slope in the land, that would have been impractical. It was much lower than the rest of the cabin and we'd have been fighting gravity from here out. We finally chose the SE corner, opposite of the kitchen. We backed it away from the building a bit to leave a walkway around the sides and surprisingly, it was barely visible from either of the kitchen windows. Elevation there is also much better than on the north side. We were one timber shy of finishing it and will bring it next week with a load of gravel. We cut 2' pieces of rebar, drilled holes through the multiple layers of timbers and hammered them through. Should hold nicely. Really wanted the cistern base to be solid and level since it's about 12,000 lbs when full.

The rest of the weekend we spent relaxing in the cool of the house. We have to remind ourselves at times that it's OK to just enjoy our time out here. It doesn't have to be about work every minute there. We watched a couple of movies, took a couple of naps, fixed some great meals and fed/watched the wildlife. Combine all of this with some progress on our homestead and it was a great weekend!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

(Jul 19) Still Working On The Storage Building

Work continues on our storage building. We now have 3 walls put up. I am determined to get tar paper put up on the roof next trip. There was no rain scheduled for the next week so I really wasn't worried about the tools getting wet and I was just too wiped out to climb back up there Sunday afternoon to finish it. Finally remembered to bring our Little Giant folding ladder out this weekend. Mad it so much easier to climb up and down off of the 12' roof!

East side of storage building with metal cut along roofline. 

West side of storage building. Still need to cut metal along roofline. 

We also worked on an interior wall. Still a little bit to seal it off but we're making progress. Wish we had framed out the East wall in the same method we did the West, which went much smoother and is now completely sealed off. We will now have to do some planning on how we're going to seal off the South wall as well as install a ventilation fan and AC unit. I also want to cut a small window in the north side opposite of the door to be able to work with long strips of lumber. That way I could hang one end out the door and one end out of the window when cutting them on the contractor saw. Not going to get too elaborate as we are already drawing up plans for our workshop. The storage building will have to act as a small shop until we can make some progress that way though.

Interior East wall sheathed. We ripped a 2x4 to fill the gap between the OSB and the steel beam. 

This lizard found his reflection in our tinted window and spent some time on Sunday morning trying to psych it out. He would bob up and down and flare out trying to scare it. We had a pretty good laugh. I went out later and picked him up. Kim missed the photo opp where he bit my finger and was hanging on! LOL I'm so glad the dinosaurs are gone. A 20'-30' version of this guy would be pretty devastating! :)

Beautiful eyes on this lizard. Pretty good detail for a phone camera through a tinted window. :) 

Monday, July 6, 2015

(Jul 6) Sleeping in Style

We spent the last couple of weekends working on the roof of the storage building and framing the east side wall. We had set the south header, cut the rafters and put them up, put in blocking (front, middle and back) and set all of the decking. By late afternoon yesterday, I was just too tired to put on the tar paper. I checked the forecast and there was only one day with a 20% chance of rain through the next week, so we decided that it could wait. It was so nice to move all of the large tools out of the house! It was also pretty nice to work in the shade through the day. It's the only thing that made the 95° and 85% humidity tolerable. I did get a little breeze when I was working up top. :)

Setting the last rafter on our storage unit - 12'x12' with 10'-12' ceiling.

As hard as it was getting the OSB up to the roof, it was even harder to get down off of the roof after I had it decked. The tallest ladder I had was 8'. I'll have to bring a taller version next week to finish up. I didn't even think about coming off of the side until I was already down.

We had a yard guest for the weekend. All of the rain this past couple of months has made conditions favorable for the local frog & toad population to explode. We literally have baby frogs every few feet across the property. This means that the population control units (snakes) have been feasting without stop. I was greeted by this guy (or gal) when I moved the generator cover to change the oil. I spotted him the day before in a wood pile near the cabin but couldn't get a close look at him before he took his leave into the logs. He was much less shy today. My best guess is a Black Rat Snake. I thought he was very handsome and he was quite docile compared to the Cottonmouth Moccasin we saw last year. Anyone from the Herpetologist Society care to comment? Light colored belly, round pupils, dull grey.

Baby Frog next to a quarter!

Snake in the yard by the generator. Maybe 4' long. Not too big yet!

American Leather Sleeper Sofa in Black Leather from Haverty's 
Newly hatched frog next to a quarter. Pretty tiny! Thousands of them this summer.

We got a major upgrade in our sleeping arrangements this weekend. We finally got our sleeper sofa picked up and brought out, thanks to my daughter and her boyfriend. At nearly 350 pounds, it was way too much for Kim and I to handle by ourselves. It was so nice to sleep on a real mattress instead of a pair of air mattresses held together by sheets as we have for the past 2 years. :) American Leather,  Ellis model. This was by far the best combination of a comfortable sofa along with a great sleeper option we found. We chose the queen size in black leather and there was plenty of room. :) 

Next week, we continue working on the storage shed. Hope to get at least 2 additional walls up and get the roof covered. We're also going to bring out and assemble our IKEA PAX closet. That'll be a full evening of fun! :) It's a good thing Kim and I get along so well. Putting together furniture can be a real strain on your relationship, I'm told! We've done really well building a house and storage unit so far, I don't think a wardrobe will give us any grief.  See ya then!